Category Archives: Folk

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2009)

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Next it’s the ethereal sound of The Low Anthem. ‘Charlie Darwin’ is the opening track off the the Rhode Islander’s 2009 album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.

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Bill Callahan – Riding For The Feeling (2011)

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A year before Sharon Van Etten sang ‘We Are Alright’, Bill Callahan was creating his own heartfelt sounds. His confessional song ‘Riding For The Feeling’ features on his 2011 long player Apocalypse.

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now (1969)

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And now for a slight change of style… Joni Mitchell’s 1969 album Clouds was a breakthrough work for the singer-songwriter. It featured two of her standards ‘Chelsea Morning’ and ‘Both Sides Now’. The truth is that I prefer a number of cover versions of the former; not so for ‘ Both Sides Now’ and its ice cream castles in the air. Have a great weekend.

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The Band – The Weight (1968)

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The hugely influential ‘The Weight’ was written by Robbie Robertson. The Band released the song as a single and on their 1968 album Music From Big Pink. Rock music would never be quite the same again. Have a great weekend.

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Townes Van Zandt – Dollar Bill Blues (1978)

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For me, country music recordings should come with warning labels. I often find it trite and dewy-eyed. Not so for much of the output of Townes Van Zandt. ‘Dollar Bill Blues’ featured on his 1978 collection Flyin’ Shoes. I like nostalgia and the storytelling as much as the next man…  gambling, booze, self-destruction and late-night love.

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Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day (1972)

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Van Morrison’s majestic album Saint Dominic’s Preview, closes with ‘Almost Independence Day’. With its echoes of his work on Astral Weeks, I was always going to like this song. I was not alone; David Gilmour and Roger Waters were evidently listening and wishing they were here.

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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping (1969)

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In May 1969, Atlantic Records released Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s self-titled debut album. A  month later, they released “Marrakesh Express” as the supergroup’s debut single. Its B-side, was the alliterate ‘Helplessly Hoping’, the achingly beautiful song penned Stephen Stills.

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Villagers – A Trick Of The Light (2018)

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‘Trick Of The Light’ is the first release from Villagers’ forthcoming album The Art Of Pretending To Swim. The track opens to a steady pulse and quickly creates a groove that is more than slightly R&B. The folk returns as the song progresses and Conor O’Brien chases ‘A Trick Of The Light’.

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Sweet Baboo – Let’s Go Swimming Wild (2013)

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The talented Stephen Black is a singer-songwriter from Wales. In 2013, he released the quirky album Ships on Moshi Moshi Records. ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ gives listeners a slightly psychedelic flavour of Sweet Baboo.
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Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat (1971)

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After over 6 years of daily blogging, you don’t get many more opportunities to post your favourite songs of all time. ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ is from Leonard Cohen’s third album, Songs of Love and Hate, released in 1971. It’s a about a love triangle between Jane, Leonard, his “brother”/his “killer”. The famous blue raincoat in question is a Burberry that Cohen bought in London in the late 1950s. A slightly less cool fact is about that hook line that accompanies the lyric “Jane came by with a lock of your hair, she said…”. It is identical to the one used by writers Hammond and Bayer Sager for the chorus on Leo Sayer’s ‘When I Need You’. It still makes me mad.

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Sufjan Stevens – Mystery of Love (2017)

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Last week, Sufjan Stevens released a new video for his song ‘Mystery of Love’, which he penned for the Luca Guadagnino film Call Me By Your Name. This is Sufjan, near his etherial best.

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Van Morrison – Sweet Thing (1968)

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In this week leading up to Christmas, I will feature some tracks that need no introduction.
Van Morrison’s ‘Sweet Thing’ off 1968’s Astral Weeks.

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Big Thief – Masterpiece (2016)

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And now to a different strand of the mythical folk rock genre. Brooklyn’s Big Thief balances the singer-songwriter’s storytelling with indie rock. Their debut album’s title track ‘Masterpiece’ sums it up. Adrianne Lenker sings: “There’s only so much letting go you can ask someone to do.”

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John Joseph Brill – I’m Not Alright (2017)

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Keeping to the contemporary theme this week… there is more than a slight resemblance of Matt Berninger’s baritone and his dystopian outlook in today’s sound. But this is not The National; instead I present Londoner John Joseph Brill’s recent single ‘I’m Not Alright’.

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